Tag Archive: prioritizing

With a ton of things on your plate as solopreneur in addition to all of the other hats that you wear in life, it’s important to know how to get from “to-do” to “done”.  There are of course tools that can support you, but you also have to incorporate habits and rules that support you when it comes to getting things done.

First of all, you have to know what’s important and how to prioritize things so that unimportant things don’t end up on your list of tasks to complete.  If a task isn’t directly related to a goal that you’ve created or running your business, then chances are that it’s not important.  If that’s the case, then it doesn’t deserve your time.  If it’s something that has to get done, delegate it so that you can focus on the important things.

Next, you have to understand how you operate.  For instance, what happens when you’re working on a project?  Do you get off to a slow start, get stuck in the middle of things or does your challenge come at the tail end of things?  Know how you operate and you make it easier on yourself when it comes to getting to completion with your projects.  Create the momentum that you need to keep things moving throughout the entire process to get it done. Learn what works for you and continue to use it.

As you work your way through your projects, be sure to keep track of the time that it takes to complete them and for the individual pieces as well.  Compare your actual time to the time that you estimated so that you’ll be able to better estimate the amount of time that you need to get things done.

Finally, you have to be in action around the things on your to-do list.  If not, you end up with a ton of tasks that aren’t even started.  Take each project and break it down into smaller, bite-sized pieces so that you can work toward completion one step at a time.  When you face those things that you just don’t like to do, delegate them or jump in on them and work for shorted periods of time and keep plugging away until it’s complete.  Keep control of the things on your plate to keep them from controlling you.  When you stay at the helm you stay in control, which makes it much easier for you to get from “to-do” to “done”.

Welcome to stop #2 on the Productivity for Profits Summer Blog Tour and Giveaway!

I am excited to be one of 7 productivity experts taking part in this one-of-a-kind event. This post is about goal setting as it relates to productivity.

Most solopreneurs start their year having set the goals they want to accomplish and get out of the gate with a fast start. But as the year goes on they start to lose momentum.  Somewhere after the point of the rubber hitting the road in pursuit of their S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time bound) goals they realize that they aren’t spending time doing the things that need to be done to accomplish those goals.  Most are puzzled and wonder why they just can’t seem to get those things done.

What about you?  Have you been there before and you’re wondering why?  Well, let me tell you why.  The reason that you lose that momentum and come to a point where you aren’t doing anything to move toward your goals is because there is no cohesion between your goals and your daily business activity.  You may have created your goals and have a complete plan with priorities and dates, but what you’ve created becomes stagnant pretty quickly unless you take some important additional steps.

Once you have set your goals, look at the “by when” date you’ve set to accomplish each and determine the amount of time it will take to get there so that you know when you have to begin working toward each goal.  In addition to assigning that “by when” date, you should have assigned a priority to each goal.  If you haven’t done that, take a step back and set the priorities.  This step is crucial.  If you don’t know your priorities you really don’t have clear direction.

Next you have to determine the smaller steps that will take you from Point A to Point B.  Think of each goal as a meal and each of the smaller steps as a bite of that meal.  So, let’s say that one of your goals is to revamp your website.  That’s the meal on the table before you and the smaller bite size pieces are things like hiring someone to write copy and a graphic designer, approving the copy and the graphics, and passing everything on to your web master.  There are other steps that may need to happen to reach that particular goal, but you get the idea, right?

The individual tasks that you create should already have priorities assigned to them because you prioritized your goals when you created them.  When you prioritize your goals during the creation process, it allows you to schedule your priorities, not prioritize your schedule. Two very distinct things.  The latter can have you going in circles and wasting time during your regular planning.

As you create the smaller bite size pieces, list them on your master task list along with their priority and time frame during which they should be accomplished to keep things flowing and have you reach your goals on time.   Once you’ve done this for each of your goals, you have a solid list of tasks that will take you from Point A to Point B.

During your regular planning sessions, these smaller pieces filter down to your daily to-do list or calendar.  Where you place them depends upon how long each individual task takes.  If the task it will take longer than 15 minutes to complete, it should go on your calendar in a slot with enough time to complete it.  This keeps you from over booking your day and gives you enough time to get the important things done.

The date and priority of each goal will determine at which point in time the smaller tasks hit your to-do list or your calendar and you of course, would place the tasks according to the order in which they should take place, since some tasks are dependent upon others.  You can use your master list to keep track of the status of each task.  Updating it regularly will enable you to quickly see exactly where you are with each of your goals.

This is the easy part, trust me.  The challenge is in creating the new habit of incorporating this process into your regular planning.  It’s the only thing that will ensure that the tasks directly related to your goals make it to your to-do list or calendar.  Making this a habit is what will create cohesiveness between your goals and your daily business activity.  This step is the missing piece of the puzzle and is key in having your daily activities include the tasks that have to be completed to accomplish your goals.

The final key to having continuity between your goals and what you do from day-to-day is you.  You can follow this process, but nothing will change unless you get into action.  Because this is a challenging process, I want to give you something to support you for the first 30 days to help you develop this new habit.  As a part of the Productivity for Profits Summer Blog Tour, I’m gifting readers with my Set & Get Your Goals package that you can use to:

  • Track your goals
  • Create and monitor the individual tasks it will take to reach them
  • Get step by step guidance from a series of short audios

You’ll also get a few extra tips.  Simply enter your information below now and the templates will come directly to your inbox along with the first audio.  You’ll receive the additional audios over three consecutive weeks.

Don’t forget to share this post with the help of the social media buttons at the top of this post and leave a comment below.  Continue to enjoy the tour!

The Productivity for Profits Summer Blog Tour is now over. If you’re  seeing this post after August 5th, you missed a great blog tour and some great giveaways. The good news is that the tour will happen again next year.

Most people hustle every day trying to beat the clock, barely getting things done.  This hustle is absolute madness and a vicious cycle to be caught up in.  Although the desire to stop that madness is there, the truth is that once you’re caught up in it, it’s hard to get out, especially if you just don’t know how.

The magic number is 1,440! Wondering what that is? It’s the number of minutes that you get every day. The key is to not spend your time, but to invest your time.  These are two very distinctly different things.  If you’re spending time, you may be getting things done, but the things that are getting done aren’t impacting the future.  When you invest your time, the things that get your time are directly related to their goals and larger projects that help move you forward and accomplish the big picture that you’ve created.  There really is a big difference when it comes to spending and investing your time, just as it is when it comes to money.  When you invest your time, there is a valuable payoff for your investment.

If you’re simply spending your time, you’re not experiencing that larger, more valuable payoff.  When you spend time, you are often busy but not productive.  You spin your wheels instead of getting things done, end up reinventing the wheel many times because certain things aren’t streamlined and you don’t have systems in place to support you.  With all of this going on and more things being added to your plate, it creates a noise that makes it hard to hear anything, and you stay caught up in the vicious cycle.

This daily hustle is a result of taking on too much and jam packing to-do lists and calendars; not having or knowing priorities; the inability to or not knowing when to say “no”; and the lack of tools, systems and habits. When this is happening, there simply cannot be an investment of time because things are set up that way.  Without these things in play, you’re only equipped to spend your time.

To flip the script, step back and take a look at your time investment portfolio. Does it contain things that help support you, or is it reminiscent of someone who’s doing that daily hustle?  What things have you collected in your time investment portfolio and how are those things impacting you?  If it’s full of the things from the daily hustle, you need a new portfolio.  Next, identify your values, then, based upon your values, create S.M.A.R.T. goals and prioritize them.

Define regular blocks of time that you need to accomplish regular tasks then define and implement systems with processes to carry those things out to help streamline those tasks.  Identify tools that will help support you, for instance, determine what tool fits your personality and start using it to manage your time.  This is the foundation of your time management system.  Maximize its use by employing every feature hat it affords you, and then set up the other pieces of your time management system.  Additionally, create any other systems that you need for business (filing, client management, accounting, etc).  To keep things flowing it’s necessary to develop new habits that support you instead of hindering you.   Without new habits in place, the systems and tools won’t work.  Make adjustments to anything that doesn’t work by looking at why it’s not working first, which will make finding a solution easier.  Each of these things is something that you want in your time investment portfolio.  Doing so will have you move from the vicious cycle of spending time to investing your time.

Do you use a to-do list?  Do you compulsively make lists that you toy with every day, or make lists with tasks that you actually get done?  Do you create daily lists that are focused on accomplishing smaller pieces related to a big project?  Your list might be so frustrating that you might feel like getting rid of  it altogether.

If you are frustrated, chances are that you really do want to be able to cross more off your list but just don’t know how or can’t seem to get there.  It’s also possible that you have lists that include unimportant tasks or things that you don’t want to do, as well as the things that are important.

It’s one thing to have a daily to-do list, but quite another to use one effectively.  If you implement them in your daily practice, they can keep you from forgetting to do something important, keep you on track for meeting deadlines, and dispel the overwhelm conversation.

When you have and use a solid to-do list, you place yourself in a position of working much smarter, not harder.  When I say “solid” I mean that the list is complete and contains only important, prioritized tasks.  When you have a solid to-do list, you’ve got everything in one place and you know what order to work in. It also beats the feeling of being overloaded, keeps you focused, organized and productive.

To go from having a list that you toy over or would like to get rid of altogether, to having a solid to-do list, there’s a simple process.  First you have to create your to-do list.  If you already have a list that isn’t working for you, look at what you have right now and determine which items on it are important.  Move them to a new list and add things that you have to complete.  Of course, if there are larger tasks, break them down into smaller pieces.

Review what you have and be sure that everything on that list is important.  If something’s not important, it doesn’t belong on your list.  Ideally, what you have should be related to larger things that you’re seeking to accomplish.  As you review the list, look to see if there are things that you can delegate to someone else.  If so, remove them.  Once that’s done, divide the list into categories.  That will make it easier to use.  In my next post, I’ll discuss how to prioritize your tasks so that you know what order to work in.

As a solopreneur or entrepreneur you’re beyond busy, so it’s important that your business learn like a well-oiled machine.  The way to have it running like that is to create systems with processes to help streamline things and to support you.

Within most businesses you’ll find filing, accounting, marketing and  client management systems.  Each of those systems has processes within it that are performed on a regular basis to keep things running.  In addition to the systems that I mentioned, you’ll need others that will support you running your business including a time management system.

Look at the systems that you currently have in place and ask determine what’s working and what’s not working.  Of the things that aren’t working, review the system processes and change them accordingly so that you end up with something that works for you.  You want processes in place that get the job done without extra energy or effort or disruption.  There may be systems that you have to add as well.  Look at the things that you do all the time and create systems around them.  If you don’t have anything in place at all, it’s time to get cracking.  Start with the basic systems that I mentioned above and add other systems that you need.

To give you a couple of practical examples, your filing system should consist of action, reference and archive files.  Action files are files that you use on a regular basis, such as vendor and client files.  Reference files contain information that you use occasionally for information and archives consists of last years’ files and go back as far as necessary.  I would recommend checking with your accountant to see how long you have to keep financial files.  Usually archives are kept in a different location than your other files, but they don’t have to be.

Another example is your time management system.  That system starts with the right time management tool and includes your master task list, daily to-do list and supportive habits like planning, prioritizing, goal setting and even saying “no”.  If technology is a fit for your time management personality, there are other tools that you might incorporate to support you.

As a regular practice, review your systems to see if they’re still supporting you as much as they should.  When things change in your business, it may call for changes to be made to the systems you have in place.

Having effective systems for all areas of your business results in less wasted time and money, fewer mistakes, mishaps and avoids negatively impacting your bottom line.

In my next post I’ll reveal Key #3.

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